Roy The Boy's weekly blog looks at BAGS and Mullingar greyhound racing, Sports Personality of the Year, Formula 1, a great Tour De France 2016 bet and losing the urge to bet on horse racing.
“Can I take the opening show please?” - “Would that be the industry opening show or our opening show?”
I’m not one for stats or keeping records. If I win I win, if I lose I lose. Overall I suspect I do a bit of both. Selective memory sees me recall the big wins, convenient amnesia has a CTRL+ALT+Delete effect on my losses.
So I’m not sure how many weeks ago it was that I wrote about Mullingar dog track appearing on the BAGS service. Four maybe? But I do strongly suggest it has a continued lifespan, as a ‘Bookmaker’s Afternoon Greyhound Service’ track, of about six more.
Word has already reached me of one well-orchestrated coup that came off, in-part, during the last fortnight.
Apparently a bunch of migrants, with no knowledge of betting shop culture, were sent off in all directions clutching envelopes containing €100 apiece all across Ireland.
Their instructions were simple, back Trap 6 in a designated race. Ask the cashier to write the opening show/price – in this instance 3/1 – to be written on the docket, and then return three minutes later to collect the winnings.
All went well, the only time the dog was led was during the parade, and everyone apart from bookmaker’s (and BAGS) were happy. Well, almost. It turns out one major Irish bookmaking PLC took it upon themselves to block that opening show and, as a result, it never appeared on-screen or was declared verbally by a commentator.
Punters in that firm’s shops were only given a subsequent show and their own ‘opener’ saw Trap 6 trading at a top-price 5/4.
3/1 was never available to their customers, only 5/4.
Of course, wishy-washy gambling laws being what they are in the UK and Ireland, means there is no recourse. Betting offices are not obliged to provide any shows to their customers and they can refuse any bet no matter how small.
Sadly even this safety net is not enough for them and, as I’ve previously stated, BAGS racing incorporating Irish tracks has a very limited lifespan.
Murray’s Too Late for a Nomination
There is great news on my never-ending soap-opera style betting medium which is the Sports Personality of the Year. Nominations for this year’s award will be made public on November 30th.
As this is less than 24 hours after the Davis Cup tennis final, and the votes will have already been declared, verified and counted, Andy Murray has no real entitlement to be amongst that final ten, the nominations.
At that stage he will not have won anything during 2015 will have clearly performed below expectations and even his capabilities.
Alas, those newspaper sport’s editors are a predictable and self-righteous bunch – check-out exhibit A at the Racing Post – and the Scotsman is sure to be amongst ‘the chosen’.
Personally, and I go back to the time when round-the-world-yachtsman Ellen MacArthur was a 6/4 six-month favourite for the award back in 2005, I think Sarah Outen is worthy of a nomination.
In case you have not heard of her, Outen is the woman that recently rowed up a filthy River Thames to complete an adventure of rowing, cycling and kayaking around the globe.
It took her four-and-a-half years and at her lowest point – mid-way across the Atlantic in a storm when death by drowning looked inevitable – she phoned up her girlfriend and proposed to her. Touching.
If that is not a story in itself I was struck by her psyche, which saw her gain four stone during the course of her journey, impressive as she was supposedly burning off 8,000 calories a day. There was old-fashioned me believing support vehicles were a just-in-case precaution not pizza delivery cars/boats!
When it’s all said and done, hers was an epic achievement and she deserves her place at the SPotY Awards ceremony in Belfast this December alongside the UK’s highest placed representative in another unheralded sport, the World Hot-Dog Eating Championships.
On the 3/1 Button
There are just two races separating us and a nice 3/1 selection we placed at the outset of the F1 season, that being veteran British driver Jenson Button to outscore his new team-mate, Fernando Alonso.
During Jenson Button’s three seasons coupled with Lewis Hamilton he was out pointed 214 points to 240 in 2010, he outscored the current world champion by 270 to 227 in 2011 and was beaten by just two points in 2012 (188 points to 190).
With Alonso new to the McLaren team, their car as fast as a Seat Ibiza and reliable as a 1970’s Skoda, it was always a precarious market and one which should have seen both drivers priced-up at 5/6.
Run to the Hills
The Tour de France route for 2016 is now in the public domain and it is one that will play to Colombia’s Nario Quintana’s strengths, namely it is hilly almost from the outset (stages 2 and 5).
There’s nine flat stages, one middle-mountain stage, nine mountain stages (four of which finish at a mountain top) and two individual time trails one of which is uphill. Yum yum.
Froome’s winning margin (over Quintana) last year was just 72 secs and that is after Froome found himself unexpectedly prominent in the overall classification in the early stages – by Stage 4 he was already second overall and led his Colombian rival by 1min 56sec.
As it is entirely possible Froome and Quintana will go off at 6/4 joints come July 2nd 2016 (the race start) I can feel a seven month long saving scheme coming off at the Bank of Paddy Power. They are, after all, going a clear top-price of 5/2.
Not for the first time I’m on a purge to stop my day-in-day-out mug punting on horse racing. A quick flick through the TV channels invariably seems me stop on the racing and that immediately necessitates a bet.
Of course, being devoted to chasing, a losing bet leads to another and another in a hopeless downward spiral which can and does produce a lot of pain and see you invent incredibly complex and fanciful stories to explain away an empty bank balance to loved ones.
Punting really is the most fulfilling pastime but a ‘leakage’ in one area of it can and has lead to indescribable heart-ache and misery. Henceforth, hopefully, I’m exclusive to sports betting, deciphering ante-post events and playing poker.